Witness The Depth Of Republican Depravity

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik.

Today, the U.S. House select committee investigating the deadly pro-Trump assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th is holding its first hearings, taking witness testimony from U.S. Capitol Police officers who defended the building and helped lawmakers flee to secure areas as insurrectionists stormed through smashed windows and doors.

Outside the hearing, as Fox News reports, Republicans who tried desperately to stop this investigation from taking place at all offered their latest spin on the events of January 6th. We had to read this twice to make sure it wasn’t a parody:

House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and other House GOP leaders blasted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Tuesday morning, accusing her of being ultimately responsible for security failures at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6…

“Dec. 14, the leadership knew there was a problem,” McCarthy said. “Even prior to that, an Inspector General report told us there was failed leadership at the top of the police for the training.” The minority leader noted that no hearing was held to address that report.

House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., echoed this, claiming that in December 2020 Pelosi “was made aware of potential security threats to the Capitol and she failed to act.”

Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, January 6th 2021.

The New York Daily News has the quote from Rep. Elise Stefanik today that has jaws agape from coast to coast:

“The truth (is) that Nancy Pelosi bears responsibility as Speaker of the House for the tragedy that occurred on Jan. 6,” said Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), the No. 3 House Republican. [Pols emphasis]

On January 13th, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stated unequivocally that “the president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters.” The insurrectionists who smashed their way into the U.S. Capitol on January 6th were not random tourists, they were there with the expressed purpose of disrupting the certification of the 2020 presidential election in hope that might somehow help defeated Republican President Donald Trump cling to power.

You know that. We know that. Kevin McCarthy and Elise Stefanik know it too.

So what’s going on here? It’s simple, really: the GOP is a party completely given over to post-truth reinvention of history, so turning the story of January 6th on its head to recast the victims as guilty for the attack is as natural for them as it is outrageous to everyone else. By giving voice to the utterly outlandish idea that Democrats somehow brought this violence on themselves, Republican leaders have given Republican voters desperate to reconcile these events with their own values will something–anything–to cling to. And that’s all it takes.

In the end, what “post-truth” Republicans say doesn’t have to make sense. If you’re outraged, you’re just not the target audience for it. Republicans who know what their leaders are saying is preposterous fiction, and they most certainly do exist, cannot say anything for fear of ending up the next Liz Cheney.

Whatever happens next, today marks another low moment: for Kevin McCarthy and Elise Stefanik, for the GOP, and for American democracy as a whole. Unless American voters stop rewarding Republicans’ increasingly diabolical behavior in the era of Trump, we are all debased with them.

Boebert Hates Bicycles, But CD-3 Sure Doesn’t

At first glance, it just seems like another serving of talk-radio red meat from Colorado’s favorite Republican train wreck Rep. Lauren “Q*bert” Boebert–a presumably dead-on-arrival appropriations amendment striking a blow against that most un-Godly of communist contraptions, the bicycle:

Communists, obviously.

On the one hand, it’s easy to understand: Boebert is a big fan of oil and gas, the kind of devoted fan you can really only be if you don’t think about it too much “Drill Baby Drill” style. Naturally, ICE-loving (internal combustion engine, though we assume either works) red-blooded Americans like Boebert don’t ride stinking bicycles.

The thing is, though, a lot of people in Boebert’s district do ride bicycles. In fact, the Colorado Tourism Office says some of the greatest cycling destinations are in Boebert’s own Western Slope district:

Colorado has more gold- or platinum-rated bicycle communities than any other state, according to the League of American Bicyclists. Boulder and Fort Collins are ranked platinum, while Breckenridge, Durango, Crested Butte and Steamboat Springs are gold. Silver status goes to Aspen, Colorado Springs, Denver, Gunnison and Longmont, while Arvada, Carbondale, Castle Rock, Golden, Greeley, Lakewood, Summit County and Vail make the podium with bronze.

Boebert may not value bicycling as a means of getting around, but a whole bunch of tourism-reliant communities in her district value the hell out of bicycles and the visitors Colorado’s magnificent bike trails bring. That’s in addition to the fact that people who ride bicycles are statistically much healthier, and bicycles and emit neither carbon nor coal-roll soot.

In short, Boebert just insulted a big economic stakeholder in her district for the shallow gratification of another.

We can’t see how that makes Boebert, you know, any new friends.

Grand Junction GOP Event Featuring Reps Lauren Boebert & Jim Jordan Draws Opposing Groups

(“You better stand back – I’m not vaccinated” – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Progressives protest outside Mesa County GOP event headlined by US Reps. Boebert and Jim Jordan

By Sharon Sullivan for the Colorado Times Recorder

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) attended a Mesa County Republicans fundraiser, Saturday, July 24, at the Grand Junction Convention Center, where both were slated to speak at the annual Lincoln Day Dinner that evening. Boebert was also invited to speak at Faith Heights Church the following morning during its Sunday service.

Both Members of Congress voted against certifying the Presidential election results on January 6, the day insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol. Plus, Jordan has been accused of aiding and abetting a cover-up, while he was an Ohio State University assistant wrestling coach, of accusations against a university physician for sexually abusing student wrestlers from 1979 to 1997.

Approximately 50 Mesa County Democrats protested Jordan’s presence, as well as their opposition to Boebert, outside the convention center during the fundraising dinner.

Grand Junction resident Bill Richardson protests outside the Mesa GOP fundraiser, headlined by U.S. Reps Lauren Boebert & Jim Jordan. Photo: Sharon Sullivan

Bill Richardson, a retired Grand Junction criminal defense lawyer, carried a sign saying “Gym Jordan Not Welcome in Mesa County.” He said he was compelled to attend the protest “because (Boebert) is doing absolutely nothing for the 3rd District” – a sentiment echoed by many of those who were present. “She’s into performative tweets, Facebook posts, videos, and stunts,” he said.

In addition to claims Jordan failed to protect student athletes from a sexual predator, Richardson’s sign stated Jordan aided the attempted overthrow of the U.S. government – a claim also voiced by Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney, of Wyoming.

Protesters yelled “shame, shame,” as those attending the event walked past to enter the building.

While most attendees chose not to engage the protesters, some hurled insults, one man made obscene gestures, and a few stopped to photograph the group. One woman wearing a blue dress and cowgirl boots approached the protesters, taunting them with, “You better stand back – I’m not vaccinated.”

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More Things That Won’t Happen on August 13

Pillow enthusiast and amateur political scientist Mike Lindell

The “MyPillow Guy,” company CEO Mike Lindell, has been one of the most outspoken of the Donald Trump supporters in terms of his belief that Trump will yet be “reinstated” as President, or something. Lindell has spent millions of dollars of his own money to create a complicated Excel spreadsheet that “proves” widespread voter fraud stole the 2020 Presidential election for Joe Biden. Lindell will reportedly make that data public at some sort of event in mid-August.

Lindell has claimed for months that Trump would be back in the White House in August 2021 (of course, Lindell has also said that Trump “won” the 2020 election, so it’s unclear why Trump would need to be reinstated as President if he was already President). Earlier this month, Lindell even put a date on it; he said that The United States Supreme Court would reinstate Trump as President on Friday, August 13 (yes, Friday the 13th). Nevermind that the U.S. Supreme Court does not have this authority.

But as Raw Story reports, Lindell has a new, updated theory that still involves August 13:

Lindell speculated this week that President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will resign on the morning of August 13. [Pols emphasis]

Lindell told Real America’s Voice host Steve Bannon that he came to this conclusion after speaking with three Democrats who regretted voting for Biden. The MyPillow CEO claimed that he had convinced the Biden voters that the 2020 election had been stolen from former President Donald Trump…

…”There’s three of them that voted [for Biden] that feel terrible about it,” he continued. “I said you know what? I said you didn’t know about this but you thought you were voting for something. I said you didn’t get to vote. I said China did our vote.”

According to the “MyPillow Guy,” Biden and Harris will resign for the good of the country on Friday the 13th after seeing all of the data that he has accumulated proving that their administration is illegitimate. Don’t tell Lindell, but if this were to happen, the person who would become President is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and not The Big Orange Guy in Mar-a-lago.

Lindell is quite obviously a few sheets short of a made bed, but we’re telling you this so that there can be no confusion that August 13 is THE DAY that the Biden Presidency comes to an end. When that does not happen, and August 13 is just like any other day, then Lindell will probably shift to a new deadline — which is what people who predict the end of the world tend to do on a regular basis.

If you are one of the people who still believe that the 2020 Presidential election was fraudulent and that Trump is — or should still be — President of the United States…well, just understand that you and the “MyPillow Guy” are essentially on the same team. And then maybe reconsider your position.

Ken Buck Solicits Funds With COVID and Big Tech Conspiracies

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Actors’ portrayal of Ken Buck supporters reading his latest email

By James O’Rourke for the Colorado Times Recorder

On Monday, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) sent a fundraising email to his subscribers with an unusual title: “Delete After Reading.”

The email opens with a Donor ID number, followed by “Status: Confidential – Do Not Share.”

From there, the message is comprised of various appeals to right-wing conspiratorial thinking, including spreading suspicion about the true nature of COVID-19.

“Friend, I need your help,” the message reads. “The Woke Left and Big Tech led by a group of Washington Elites are trying to silence me. “It sounds crazy, but then again they want us to believe COVID came from a bat, right?[Emphasis added.]

The widely accepted consensus among scientific & medical experts is been that COVID-19 was spread to humans from contact with an infected bat and did not leak from a laboratory. More recently, U.S. President Biden called for an investigation into the possibility that COVID-19 came from a lab. However, the lab leak theory remains a possibility, far from certainty.

It is uncertain what is so “crazy” about the idea that “COVID came from a bat.” A recent review of existing COVID data by over 20 leading virus experts from around the globe, found that “there is currently no evidence that SARS-CoV-2 has a laboratory origin.”

One of the authors, Dr. Steven Goldstein, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Utah, told the Salt Lake City Tribune, that the most likely scenario is the pandemic began at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan.

“If you look at where the first cases in Wuhan were, there’s a really striking concentration of those cases starting in the neighborhoods surrounding this market and spreading outward from there, said Goldstein. “There’s no real reason to put any weight on the possibility of a lab leak right now.”

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Get More Smarter on Monday (July 26)

Japan has a slight lead over the United States in the Olympic medal count after the first couple of days of competition. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Last week, Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey made it clear that she was sick of unvaccinated Americans preventing the rest of the country from ending the COVID-19 pandemic, saying, “It’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks…it’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down.”

As Dr. Anthony Fauci is warning, new restrictions may be just around the corner BECAUSE so many people are unvaccinated. From The Washington Post:

Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said Sunday that the United States is in an “unnecessary predicament” at this point in the pandemic.

“We’re going in the wrong direction,” Fauci said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The latest surge in infections is driven by the highly virulent delta variant, which continues to spread rapidly around the country. Although official guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not changed, Fauci hinted that a return to indoor mask mandates for vaccinated people and booster shots may be necessary to once again curb the spread of the virus.

Doctors, nurses, and other health groups are now calling for vaccine mandates for all health care workers. New York City will require all city workers to either receive COVID-19 vaccinations or take weekly COVID-19 tests. But as The Washington Post reports in a separate story, Republican leaders around the country are actively working against public health guidelines:

GOP lawmakers are rallying around the cause of individual freedom to counter community-based disease mitigation methods, moves experts say leave the country ill-equipped to counter the resurgent coronavirus and a future, unknown outbreak.

In some states, anger at perceived overreach by health officials has prompted legislative attempts to limit their authority, including new state laws that prevent the closure of businesses or allow lawmakers to rescind mask mandates. Some state courts have reined in the emergency and regulatory powers governors have wielded against the virus. And in its recent rulings and analysis, the U.S. Supreme Court has signaled its willingness to limit disease mitigation in the name of religious freedom…

…At least 15 state legislatures have passed or are considering measures to limit the legal authority of public health agencies, according to the Network for Public Health Law, which partnered with the National Association of County and City Health Officials to document the legislative counterpunches. Lawmakers in at least 46 states have introduced hundreds of bills relating to legislative oversight of gubernatorial or executive actions during coronavirus or other emergencies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The answer, friends, is remarkably simple: Vax, That. Thang. Up.

 

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock delivers his “State of the City” address today.

 

Colorado Newsline reports on Friday’s meeting in Grand Junction with BLM officials and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland:

During her first official visit to Grand Junction, the nation’s first Native American secretary of the interior, Deb Haaland, wouldn’t say whether the Bureau of Land Management headquarters will remain in the city or return to Washington, D.C.

“It’s an open question, but needs to be known soon,” she said.

Haaland was joined on Friday by Gov. Jared Polis, Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, and Reps. Joe Neguse and Lauren Boebert, who represents the district that encompasses Grand Junction. The Colorado delegation hopes to persuade Haaland to keep the BLM headquarters in Grand Junction, where, in a controversial move, the Trump administration relocated the federal agency from Washington, D.C., in 2019…

…Haaland said she will consider the impact on BLM employees when making her decision whether to keep the headquarters on the Western Slope. Employees were significantly impacted the way the move was implemented, she said. And institutional knowledge was lost after nearly 300 BLM employees left their jobs rather than leave their homes in Washington to come to Colorado.

Colorado Public Radio has more on Haaland’s visit.

If you didn’t yet get a chance, take a moment to caption this photo of Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert flanked by other Colorado Members of Congress during a press conference in Grand Junction.

 

As Colorado Public Radio reports, Lake Powell has reached its lowest water level IN RECORDED HISTORY:

Lake Powell, the second-largest reservoir in the U.S., has dropped to its lowest level on record. The water and power produced by the system supplies millions of people in the West.

On July 23, the reservoir’s level fell to 3,555.09 feet. The previous record low was set in April 2005.

A 20-year megadrought and hotter temperatures with climate change have contributed to shrinking water supplies in the Colorado River.

The Bureau of Reclamation had announced last week that it was likely this weekend that the reservoir would hit its lowest level since first being filled in the 1960s with water from the Colorado River.

The low water levels on Lake Powell are a big issue for Colorado because of a century-long water-sharing agreement.

 

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Monday Open Thread

“The impossible often has a kind of integrity which the merely improbable lacks.”

–Douglas Adams

So Many Captions For One Awkward Photo

Committed to the public domain by Rep. Lauren Boebert’s official Twitter account, from yesterday’s visit by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland (center) to Grand Junction accompanied by (from left) Sen. Michael Bennet, Rep. Joe Neguse, Gov. Jared Polis, and Sen. John Hickenlooper:

There’s a lot going on here, and 90% of it doesn’t need to be said.

Take care of the other 10%, gentle readers.

Weekend Open Thread

“If you don’t know what you want, you end up with a lot you don’t.”

–Chuck Palahniuk

Hurting The Unemployed: How About No?

Gov. Jared Polis (D).

CBS4 Denver reports on yet another request this week by business interests asking Gov. Jared Polis to cut off the expanded unemployment benefits being paid to workers by the federal government through the first week of September prematurely, in hopes that doing so will “motivate” those workers to return to their pre-pandemic stations:

A group of more than 100 business owners in northern Colorado sent a letter to Gov. Polis, saying the extra weekly payments are disincentivizing people to go back to work, and causing a shortage of workers.

The expanded unemployment benefits that have been flowing to workers for over a year now, already cut in half from the original $600 per week, are set to end in about six weeks. As we’ve explained each time Republicans and business lobbyists have called for the money to be cut off over the last few months, there’s scant evidence that expanded unemployment benefits are slowing workers return to the workforce. This is especially true in Colorado where the minimum wage is well above the federal $7.25 an hour, and is off-base in all cases since workers in every state are required to look for new jobs while they receive unemployment benefits.

In his response to this latest request, Gov. Polis makes the argument even simpler: he would be a fool to cut off hundreds of millions of dollars flowing into Colorado’s economy.

“I wish that we could use the money for something else, but this is $600 to $800 million that the federal government is pumping into Colorado,” Gov. Polis said.

Polis said the weekly payments are temporary and helping businesses in Colorado.

“This current money is only here for another month, but if we cut it off, it would be less money for our retail businesses, for our stores,” Polis said Wednesday.

Once you realize that expanded unemployment benefits are not the reason employers can’t fill many entry-level low paying positions, any rational basis for cutting the benefits off disappears. No one who wants Colorado to recover as quickly as possible from the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic should support a single dime of available money to not be flowing into the state–especially money going directly into the hands of working class people who are most likely to plug it right back into the economy.

It seems like an eternity ago, but the reality is that Colorado’s “labor shortage” was in the headlines long before the pandemic. Rather than meanspirited, shortsighted attempts to punitively motivate workers into accepting the status quo ante, maybe it’s time for businesses to make better job offers.

After all, an employee’s job market is a free market too.

Get More Smarter on Friday (July 23)

The 2020 2021 Tokyo Olympics are officially underway. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

More and more Republicans are speaking out about the importance of receiving your COVID-19 vaccinations. One such Republican, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, is even starting to get a little salty about it. From CNN:

Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey on Thursday called out “the unvaccinated folks” for the rise in Covid-19 cases in her state, a remarkable plea at a time when many GOP leaders are refusing to urge people to get vaccinated even as Covid-19 cases surge in many parts of the country.

“Folks are supposed to have common sense. But it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down,” Ivey told reporters in Birmingham. [Pols emphasis]

Alabama is the least vaccinated state in the country, with roughly 33.9% of residents fully vaccinated, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Average daily Covid-19 cases in Alabama are nearly double what they were a week ago, and more than four times higher than they were two weeks ago…

…The unvaccinated, Ivey said, are “choosing a horrible lifestyle of self-inflicted pain.”

“We’ve got to get folks to take the shot,” she continued, calling the vaccine “the greatest weapon we have to fight Covid.”

Greg Sargent of The Washington Post has a similar response for the anti-vaxxer Republican crowd: He calls it “Snowflake Syndrome.” Texas Republican Rep. Ronny Jackson appears to have a bad case of “Snowflake Syndrome.”

Vax that thang up, people!

 

The Denver Post reports on the Front Range stop for Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, who will be in Grand Junction today for discussions about the future of the HQ of the Bureau of Land Management:

The federal government intends to provide immediate assistance to water users impacted by the West’s historic drought and develop longer-term strategies to respond to climate change, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland pledged Thursday during a visit to Denver.

Haaland — flanked by Assistant Interior Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver, and Denver Water CEO Jim Lochhead — spoke to the press after meeting with state and local officials at the Denver Water Administration building to discuss collaborating on addressing climate change and water-related issues in the West.

Haaland said the Bureau of Reclamation is working to identify and disperse “immediate financial and technical assistance for impacted irrigators and Indian tribes” while also tackling longer-term climate change responses, including building more resilient communities and protecting the natural environment.

“Being from New Mexico, I know how much climate change impacts our communities, from extended fire seasons to intense drought and water shortages, and I know how important the Colorado River Basin is to these discussions,” Haaland said.

 

The House of Representatives approved a measure — by wide margins — sponsored by Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora) that seeks to help Afghan interpreters who assisted U.S. forces in Afghanistan in obtaining visas to come to the United States; the Taliban has pledged to hunt down and kill interpreters who remain in that country.

Crow’s legislation passed the House by a vote of 407-16. Colorado Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert was the ONLY member of Colorado’s delegation to vote “NO.”

 

Colorado Newsline reports on passage of legislation in the House of Representatives that would regulate “forever chemicals” also known as PFAS, which can cause serious health problems when circulating through water supplies.

 

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Sympathy For The “QAnon Shaman?”

Jacob Chansley, the so-called “QAnon Shaman” (center).

One of the more recognizable figures among the 550+ suspects arrested for alleged crimes committed during the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol attempt to disrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election is the man who’s become known as the “QAnon Shaman” for his bizarre buffalo headdress costume and Mel Gibson-style cries of “freeeeedooooom” that echoed through the halls of the Capitol that day. Two weeks ago, Jacob Chansley was transferred to the FCI Englewood federal prison in Denver’s southwest suburbs for a psychological evaluation in order to determine his fitness for trial after months of pre-trial detention since his arrest in January.

As Reuters reports today, the “Qanon Shaman” is a deeply disturbed individual:

The participant in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots nicknamed the “QAnon Shaman” is negotiating a possible plea deal with prosecutors, after prison psychologists found he suffers from a variety of mental illnesses, his attorney said.

In an interview, defense lawyer Albert Watkins said that officials at the federal Bureau of Prisons, or BOP, have diagnosed his client Jacob Chansley with transient schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.

The BOP’s findings, which have not yet been made public, suggest Chansley’s mental condition deteriorated due to the stress of being held in solitary confinement at a jail in Alexandria, Virginia, Watkins said.

“As he spent more time in solitary confinement … the decline in his acuity was noticeable, even to an untrained eye,” Watkins said in an interview on Thursday.

First and foremost: confirmation that this individual suspect in an insurrection thousands of people participated in urged on by then-President Donald Trump is seriously mentally ill does not excuse the actions of anyone else. The thorough and unsparing investigation to hold everyone who broke the law on January 6th accountable reflects the seriousness of the crimes committed that day, and is supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans.

The presence of a person suffering from severe mental illness in this crowd of agitated criminal extremists cannot be considered unexpected. Furthermore, the psychological harm done by solitary confinement is very well known here in Colorado, where corrections officials in recent years have eliminated long-term solitary confinement entirely.

Even in a case of insurrection, what makes America great is how we treat even the least deserving of sympathy fairly. The “QAnon Shaman” should be punished, and it does appear that he has been. What he may need more at the end of the day, though, is treatment.

“QAnon Shaman” himself may go down in history as more of a sad mascot than a bonafide threat, but that doesn’t mean we should get complacent about the very real and enduring threat of more violence from Trump dead-enders. It’s the sound of mind who smashed their way into the Capitol, and the man who incited them to violence in the first place, who should not walk free.

Friday Open Thread

“Don’t be seduced into thinking that that which does not make a profit is without value.”

–Arthur Miller

Republicans Seek to Close Open Primaries, Exclude Unaffiliated Voters

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Just four years after Colorado’s first open primary, a faction of Republican leaders are attempting to opt-out of the laws approved by voters in 2016 which allowed unaffiliated voters to cast votes in partisan primaries. If successful, the largest group of Colorado voters, those without affiliation to a political party who represent nearly 40% of the state’s 4 million voters, will lose their voice in determining Republican nominees for U.S. president and state office races.

Chuck Bonniwell, one of a few dozen members of the Colorado Republican Party Executive Committee and host of a conservative podcast focused on state politics, is traveling the state in an effort backed by a contingent of grassroots Republicans to garner enough votes among county GOP officers to opt out of the open primaries

“Chuck and his merry band of rebels are now touring the eastern and southeastern part of the state, basically talking to all kinds of Republican grassroots groups about changing the way that we have this open primary system. Their point is it’s destroying the Colorado Republican Party. They want to go back to having a closed primary. They’re fighting an uphill battle,” explained Bonniwell’s wife and co-host during an episode of their show earlier this month.

As with other issues, Colorado Republicans are divided on opting out of open primaries along the now-familiar fault lines of grassroots conservatives who generally support former President Trump, his statements, and his policies, versus more traditional, so-called “establishment” party members who are generally more moderate and centrist. Control over the party and regaining political standing for the GOP in Colorado are at stake.

Republican campaign adviser, former Colorado chair of the GOP, and political commentator Dick Wadhams appeared on Bonniwell and Hayden’s show in February and discussed the prospect of opting out of open primaries.

“To be honest, I think it would be a mistake,” said Wadhams. “And in fact, I was engaged in that debate when this came up a few years ago when there was a [failed] vote in the state central committee to attempt to get the 75% to to opt out of the of the primary and go to a state convention for nominations. And I just I think that would be a mistake, because if we’re going to be able to appeal at all to unaffiliated voters who determine elections in this state — and always have, by the way, — [it would be counterproductive.]”

In order to opt out of open primaries, 75% of the GOP state central committee members would have to vote in favor. Bonniwell and others have contested the legality and constitutionality of that requirement, since the open primaries were approved by simple majorities in a vote of the people.

Nonetheless, it appears that Bonniwell’s group will not initiate a challenge to that rule, and will attempt to garner the approximately 390 votes needed, which is the equivalent of 75% of the state central committee.

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